Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has revealed that he is hopeful that Niall Huggins’ injury is not too serious.
The defender, who joined the Black Cats on a permanent deal from Leeds United during the summer transfer window, produced an eye-catching performance during yesterday’s League Cup clash with Wigan Athletic.
Huggins managed to provide an assist for Sunderland’s second goal after Nathan Broadhead gave the club the lead at the DW Stadium in the first-half of this fixture.
The Black Cats full-back teed up Luke O’Nien who fired past Ben Amos to extend his side’s advantage.
Wigan were unable to respond to this strike as Sunderland booked their place in the fourth round of the League Cup for the second time in three seasons.
Huggins was substituted by Johnson in the 79th minute after picking up an injury.
Making reference to the defender, the Sunderland boss has admitted that he is hoping that Huggins’ issue is cramp and has suggested that the initial signs are encouraging.
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo about the 20-year-old ahead of the club’s upcoming clash with Bolton Wanderers, Johnson said: “I’m hoping it’s just cramp with Niall.
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“I think it was because it seems to have eased off.
“Him and [Dennis] Cirkin have to learn their tank because they’re so willing and honest that actually sometimes, it’s better just to support the wide man, but the pair of them are flying up and down.
“They must be murder to play against.
“You didn’t see Jordan Jones today because Huggins is just a nightmare to have to mark for a player that wants to be on the front foot.”
Whilst it still remains to be seen whether Huggins will be fit enough to feature against Bolton on Saturday, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he becomes a key player for Sunderland in the coming months.
Particularly impressive during yesterday’s game, the right-back managed to provide two key passes for his team-mates as he recorded a WhoScored match rating of 7.52.
If Huggins is forced to watch on from the sidelines this weekend, Johnson will need to turn to Carl Winchester for inspiration.
The 28-year-old has already provided two-assists in seven appearances for Sunderland in League One this season and thus ought to be confident in his ability to deliver the goods against the Trotters.